Legal Translation and the Sherman Act

We’ve blogged about legal contract translation services and professional translators in the context of the international world of sports.  According to the Sherman Antitrust Act, the first US Federal statute aimed at limiting cartels and monopolies:

“Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal.”

“Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony.”




However, as professional sports are now recruiting a significant number
of its players from abroad – and from other leagues – questions of the
Sherman Act have arisen. And so has the need for professional translation services.
Take, for example, the National Hockey League (NHL), which typically
uses a collective bargaining agreement, but, in the case of dealing
with players from the Russian IIHF, have instituted a Player Transfer

It is this agreement that some claim is in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act in that they amount to a contract combination and conspiracy in restraint of trade in that defendants and the NHL are engaged in a group boycott and concerted refusal to deal with Russian hockey clubs regarding player transfers. According to the Player Transfer Agreement, upon signing a player from a European team, the NHL team will compensate the player’s former team with a developmental fee.

Although the issue of sports and the Sherman Act is relatively new, precedent has held that sports “involves no transfer of goods in commerce, and thus antitrust laws are not implicated”. Nat’l League of Prof’l Baseball Clubs v. Fed. Baseball Club of Balt., 269 F. 681, 684-85 (D.C. Cir. 1921).

However, in the modern era of a global sports economy, where not only players cross borders but also teams within a single league, and the money involved in sports continues to increase, this interpretation may soon change. Thus, whenever a trade involves a foreign player, it is essential that a foreign language translation of all contracts and laws be provided to all parties.


Up Next: Litigation Translation Experts, Language Experts, Certified Interpreters, and Foreign Language Recordings as Evidence